Check out that masterful header, constructed from the finest stencils that Target has to offer. It is truly a perfect representation of the burden every author must face: the terrible first draft.
And here it is! The prologue for Abandonment Party 2 is posted below, and if you’re new to writing let me warn you–it’s supposed to be as sloppy as it looks. When I begin a story I’m always in a rush to get past the start, and that means this prologue is EXTRA suck-tacular. But that’s okay! I’m not chiseling this in stone; I can change it. I will make this the glimmering masterpiece about comet-flinging psychopaths that I know it can be.
Abandonment Party 2 Prologue
The woman fought against the crowd along the top of the hill. “Pinada––the hex door! It’s closed!”
“I know,” the man inside of the glass cube answered, “Sing will want everyone here to watch him.”
“Then let us in there; you can save some of us,” she pleaded. The comet was fuzzy in the night sky above, its tail streaking across countless stars: blotting them out with blue light. Pinada pressed his glasses to his face and stared at it.
“Bear, that’s the one; grab her,” he said.
A large teen in a cloak pounced on the woman, locking his massive arms around her. She let out a squeal that bled into laughter; her features vanishing in a blink to reveal a man’s haggard face.
“It’s okay––” the man said, his eyes drooping as his smile curved up, “I’m right where I wanna be: right here with all the people you’re going to let die.”
“Sing, it’s Sing,” several in the crowd gasped. They spread out over the hilltop, backing away from him, Bear, and Pinada.
“Don’t look at me––look to him,” Sing shouted out past Bear’s sleeve. “Look at your savior. Watch him as he hides in his box, the poor, helpless thing!”
Pinada pressed a hand to the square sheet at his side: it broke away from the others and slammed to the grass. The other four sides of the cube unfolded in a burst, drawing more gasps and startled yelps from the crowd. The air fell away from his body as a visible vapor: rolling off his heavy coat and fogging his glasses. He wiped at the lenses with his long, turquoise scarf; his eyes never leaving the point of light above him.
“Pinada, what are you doing––stay in there!” Bear said, still grasping Sing tight.
“No;” Pinada answered, “I can’t stop this from in there.” He spread him arms out, the tips of his fingers poking out from his long sleeves. “Magic and patterns extend past the atmosphere into space. I can reach them: I can make the world my shield.”
Sing guffawed, showing brown teeth. “Oh, are you a god now? Going to command the heavens? I brought the comet––if anyone deserves such high praise it’s me!”
The sky flashed and Pinada staggered to his knees; the comet’s blue glare widened in every direction. With a violent flutter, the color blazed orange.
“Well, that didn’t work,” Pinada gasped. The trees on surrounding hilltops lit up with bright color: large, solid creatures went twirling out of their branches.
“It’s really coming,” Bear said. Sing kept on smiling, the glare from above bright on his face.
“We’re all dead,” someone uttered, and the crowd pushed at each other, running, swearing. “What are we doing here? Even Pinada can’t stop this!”
“Now that it’s here, I can see it’s path––” Pinada said, his eyes darting at the blur raging above. “One structure won’t be enough––what was I thinking?––I’ll need more. Thousands. Many. It needs to be slowed, yes, slowed.”
He held up his hand and rose to his feet; the wind rose to a strong gust around him. The foliage of the landscape swayed for miles around the tall hill, and the sky blazed brighter still. A boom resounded and the ground shook; people fell to their stomachs and covered their heads.
“You’re out of magic,” Sing said, tugging forward. Pinada dropped his arm, and doubled over, coughing.
“Why would you do this!?” Bear shouted, squeezing Sing closer to the neck. Pinada fell to all fours.
Sing thrashed in his grip. “Because I hate him. Because I win. Because you’re all stupid.”
“You’re crazy,” Bear said. “At least you’re going to die too.”
Sing relaxed as the world shone bright as day now. “Oh, you think so? Let me tell you secret––” He stopped there, and his mouth fell open; Pinada was standing again, his arms raised and his turquoise scarf flapping. A shockwave rocked the hill; Bear stumbled over and Sing broke free. He looked up to the sky again.
“That’s––that’s impossible,” he uttered. The blazing light was flickering out, and a massive, jagged object hung next to the clouds. It hovered a second, then dropped straight down into a hill: crushing countless trees as it rolled down the side. A delayed thud and numerous crackles echoes in the valleys, and the comet rocked to a halt, settling to a rest in the thick forest.
“Holy crap, he did it!” Bear cried. The others rushed over to the hill side, laughing and cheering at the giant ball and the various dusts and gasses roiling out from it. Several went over to where Pinada stood, wrapping their arms around him and patting his thick coat.
“He was out of magic,” Sing said. “No, no––this isn’t happening; he was powerless!”
The crowd took notice of him again, gathering around him. One man kicked him in the face.
“He’s a devil; he’s not natural!” Sing gurgled as more people joined the assault. “I’m going to beat you, Pinada! I’ll do whatever it takes!”
His body went limp as more blows landed upon it; Pinada, his hand at his bronze glasses, watched the space above.
In case you didn’t read it here’s the summary: A comet is falling, redirected toward a planet by a man named Sing. A man named Pinada stops the comet from falling by using his magic. Well, he slows it down enough so that it doesn’t cause any harm. The crowd kills Sing afterward.
Aaaaaand this is WAY worse than I thought. Seriously, that’s frickin’ awful. I mean, LOOK at this crap:
“Pinada pressed his glasses to his face and stared at it.” Here the subject is mixed up. What’s Pinada staring at? His own face? His glasses?
“Pinada pressed a hand to the square at his side: it broke away from the others and slammed into the grass.” Here he is again with the pressing! What broke away? His side? The square? What ‘others?’ Did I even describe the glass casing around him in the first place!?
Sing thrashed in his grip. “Because I hate him. Because I win. Because you’re all stupid.” Check out this awful dialog. Those are pretty pitiful reasons, Sing. Now, I wasn’t happy with this the first time I wrote it, but it’s all part of my plan: When I can’t think of good dialog I put down something stupid anyway as a placeholder. And I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to imagine such a fine idea, so I’m naming it after myself: “The Brad Smith method.” Or “B. S. method” for short.
Here’s how it works: In the final version of the story I’ll need to convey Sing’s motives for wanting to destroy the planet. But on my first run through I had NO IDEA what those motives would be. So I made something up! I made three things up! Now, why not just put nothing? Because then I’d probably forget that I even NEED to come up with a motive! I always write something, no matter how cringe-inducing it might be. Anything to keep the first draft moving.
“You’re out of magic,” Sing said…. Ha,ha,ha, he’s saying it like his car ran out of gas.
The blazing light was flickering out, and a massive, jagged object hung next to the clouds. It hovered a second, then dropped straight down into a hill: crushing countless trees as it rolled down the side. A delayed thud and numerous crackles echoes in the valleys, and the comet rocked to a halt, settling to a rest in the thick forest.
Besides the tense error here with “echoes,” the entire paragraph is an example of the B. S. method: I flat out didn’t know what sort of spell Pinada could use to stop the comet. So I put down a bunch of vague crap! Yes, folks! Writing first drafts really is that easy!
I think I now know what kind of spell it needs to be, though–a massive trampoline. He is going to bounce that sucker all the way over to Jupiter. (No, not really, ha,ha,ha.)
“I’m going to beat you, Pinada! I’ll do whatever it takes!” I’m going to catch every Pokémon, Pinada! I’ll be the very best!
Pinada, his hand at his bronze glasses, watched the space above. Dangit! Pinada! Be clear about your subjects when you’re watching something! The space above what? WHAT!?
Okay, I think I’m done looking this over. Wow. So much crap in so little space. I can already tell that the biggest overhaul will be at the end; that whole event with Pinada’s spell needs a much better description. Everything does, to be honest, heh. There is also one more big change I need to think about. But I’ll save that for my next post. For now it is time to revise this sucker. If you have any brilliant ideas for me, then by all means let me know.